I was in Kununurra in the far north of Western Australia, walking and talking photographs in my favourite park alongside Lily Creek Lagoon. It was nearly dusk and, after hours of sheer pleasure, I was headed back to my hotel reluctantly. Always on the lookout for birds, my gaze is usually, and was, upwards. But this time, something caught my eye as I neared the grand old boab tree. It is a icon in this park. Ancient and large. Tourists will stop and wrap their arms around it. Their fingertips never touch. You would need several people to circle the girth.
The movement of fluttering caught my eye at the base of the tree. As I neared it, I realised, it was a mother honeyeater desperate to keep me away. I moved away to ease her distress but could not see what caused her behaviour until I zoomed in.
At the base of the massive boab tree was the tiny chick she so desperately tried to protect. If you look closely you can barely see it at the juncture of the base and the longest root that extends from it (to the left of the screen).So young, it still had feathers on the crown and eyes that were barely open. In a park where dogs and children played with careless abandon, the vulnerability of the chick, fired my up protective instinct too.The chick relaxed and stared at me with curiosity.The mother did the same, no longer flapping her wings furiously. She flew away time and again, returning with a morsel each time. She fed her chick with utmost patience.I stood guard until the park was nearly empty. The protective instinct of the mother was memorable. No longer anxious, the mother and chick relaxed into their respective roles of nurturer and one being nurtured. The impact of trauma on a developing brain is well documented, especially for learning, emotional regulation and attachment issues. It came together for me in one fleeting moment.
So my blog this morning is not about pretty pictures. It is about instinct. What is normal and not. I can’t help be shaken by the lack of distinction modern politics promotes.
Until next time
a dawn bird